The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson combines a mystery within a western setting. Readers get an understanding of the Cheyenne nation, the Wyoming setting, and how a small town Sheriff keeps his town safe. Sheriff Walt Longmire will remind readers of Matt Dillon with his quiet demeanor, Jesse Stone, with his determination to seek justice, and Harry Bosch with his need to be a detective for the disenfranchised.
He considers himself a “Cowboy Author who writes mysterious westerns. I live westerns. I built my ranch completely on my own in Northern Wyoming. After I was done I sat down and started to write. The western environment has a tremendous affect on my life, which is evident in the books. In my family I had a grandfather who was a blacksmith so I have been around horses all my life.”
This novel allows readers to jump on the motorcycle with the characters as they go on a wild ride in Hulett County Wyoming having to face biker gangs, neo-Nazis, gunrunners, a mega millionaire, and undercover ATF agents. Henry Standing Bear, nicknamed The Cheyenne Nation, returns to the Sturgis Rally in an attempt to win a motorcycle race. He, Sheriff Longmire, and Dog, drive a ’59 Thunderbird, Lola, towing the motorcycle. The actual namesake of Henry’s car, Lola Wojciechowski, wants them to find out what happened to her son whose motorcycle was driven off the road and now lies unconscious in a hospital. Through the investigation that includes Longmire’s deputy Victoria (Vic) Moretti they find that the crash was no accident. ATF is looking at the victim as a drug or gunrunner. It becomes obvious that Walt and Company are needed to sort out all the facts and find the perpetrators.
Johnson commented to blackfive.net, “In the contemporary American West the new horse is the motorcycle. We have the largest motorcycle rally in the world in the little town of Sturgis. When I was a child I started racing motorcycles and have had motorcycles my whole life. I had all these small, independent book stores that wanted me to come and do events at their stores so I began doing the Great Northwest Outlaw Motorcycle Tour on my own that takes in Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Utah.”
Readers will not only enjoy the Western flavor of this novel, but Johnson’s way of adding one-liners. This humorous and sarcastic dialogue will allow for some chuckles. The banter between the characters, as they rib one another, plays off well and adds to the storyline. Not to mention the way the author sets up Vic with her ability to drive and skeet shoot with the best of the male folk.
Anyone who enjoys these novels should tune in to Netflix to watch the series. The fifth season will start September 23rd. The characters are portrayed brilliantly by the cast, from Robert Taylor as Walt to Katee Sackhoff as Vic. But the person who steals the show is Lou Diamond Phillips who has 100% nailed down the essence of Henry Standing Bear, including his speech patterns.
Having Phillips portray Henry has added to the flavor of the show. Johnson believes he has done “a fantastic interpretation. Before he auditioned he actually read three of the books. He does a great job of that B movie speech where he never uses contractions. He speaks that way because Henry is very precise in what he does so his speech patterns are accordingly. Sometimes he uses that type of language to piss off white people who are arrogant.”
Whether reading the books or watching the TV series readers/viewers will have plenty of action, humor, and twists. The character Henry, who at the end of the book, uttered a Sherlock Holmes line, can summarize this novel best, “There is nothing more deceptive than An Obvious Fact.”